Hey Myles, Again
When am I going to get the team of evil bastards I was promised?
By Allen Powell II
When I claimed my spot on the Miami Heat bandwagon, I thought I was signing up for the thrill ride of the season. Not only did I expect gravity-defying dunks, vicious crossovers and stifling defense, I expected a certain something extra.
Call it swagger if you must, but I wanted to watch a team where players hooped with a chip on their shoulders the size of Steve Nash’s forehead. I wanted to see sneers, smirks and stare downs. I wanted Team Evil. Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine on the wings with Jabba the Hut as the trailer. Hide ya babies, hide ya wives because they raping everybody!
That so has not happened.
It ain’t about basketball. We all knew going in that Wade and LeBron had similar games, we knew that Chris Bosh isn’t a banger and we knew that injuries are an inevitable part of every NBA season. Basketball problems alone are not enough to explain why Team South Beach has played like Team South Bitch.
Could it be that despite the poverty and media attention that dominated his childhood, LeBron James really thought he’d be loved for flipping the entire basketball script? Did he really believe that a few well-placed clichés and commercials would soothe the anger of sports fans who have been spoon fed for years the idea that only general managers and team presidents know what’s best for players?
It seems impossible that a jaded, image-conscious megastar like LeBron James could be that naive and unprepared, but that’s really all I’m left with right now. Until he went to Cleveland and wallowed in that vitriol while posting vintage numbers, LeBron resembled a two-year old who just got smacked for playing with an electrical outlet:
“I thought you loved me! You said you loved me? Love me!”
And if LeBron has been broadsided, I don’t know what to call Bosh and Wade. They have both spent time pouting and looking shocked that their entire games have had to be adjusted thanks to the fact that they are playing next to the world’s foremost ball-pounder. (It’s funny how ball pounding is only bad when some people do it. Every elite point guard in the league is a ball pounder, and very few of them make better decisions with the ball than LeBron. Think about it.)
If these cats actually colluded before going to Miami like much of the basketball world believes, then a point of discussion should have been the avalanche of hate that was headed their way. As they exchanged giggles and pounds about groupies and television appearances, somebody should have had the foresight to understand that the only way they were going to win a championship in year one was if they went into the season believing that everybody in the outside world hated them.
It’s not about envy it’s about hatred. Buzzwords like “unity” and “togetherness” aren’t enough. Miami should be searching for the type of “blood in, blood out” mentality that is commonplace in your favorite local gang or police department. They can’t just be together; they have to be together with the express purpose of cracking heads.
I’m not even totally convinced by this recent win streak, and it’s not because they are rolling crap teams. Everybody plays crap teams, but the best teams, the super teams, dispatch crap teams with an open disdain that is only matched by the perfection of their execution. The Miami Trio has the disdain down pat, but it feels more like misplaced hubris than bonafide confidence. Hubris gets you killed, word to Homer.
Miami has the talent to win the NBA Finals this year, but they need something to rally around, and it can’t be something nebulous like “legacy.” Somebody in that organization needs to recognize that this team needs an identity that is useful for everyone from the top dog to the runt of the litter. That’s more important than figuring out how LeBron and Wade co-exist, or deciding how to integrate Mike Miller, or determining whether Arroyo or Chalmers deserves fourth quarter minutes. This team needs to get its attitude straight because that will drive its effort, and that will carry it when execution can’t.
What you think Myles?